Attacco’s Virtual Controller, now in beta, makes anything into a percussive MIDI controller – not just for triggers, but expression, too. And you don’t need special hardware, either.

Ever been finger drumming during a studio session? Well, now… that’s an input, too. So to is any microphone or contact mic or drum trigger. Basically, instead of relying on some proprietary solution, the developers at Attacco have built all the intelligence to software – and figure you can BYO mics and low-latency audio interface. (Side note on that: I’m ecstatically happy with the current-gen MOTU M4 I bought for a pretty low price, have a UAD Arrow plugged into the M1 Mac mini, and I’m hearing all the latest gear from Focusrite and whatnot work well, too. It’s pretty incredible what you can get in audio interfaces nowadays, with audio fidelity and reliable performance that once required a big investment.)

This opens a lot of possibilities – a practice pad turns into a basic digital drum kit. Objects become controllers. A lot of the versatility is down to mixing and matching mics.

The software interface is also attractively designed, with lots of musical options and visual feedback:

Now, you could do this any number of ways, but what Attaccoo have done is to allow you to access not just the attack transient, but also mapping different timbres, positions, speed, and velocity. Software analysis is doing some heavy lifting here and making this more expressive.

Some quick toying around shows some good results so far, and I’m now off to wrangle some other mics to test more. Let us know what you think.

You have to sign up with email, or a Google or Facebook account, but then there’s a free beta version 0.1 for 64-bit Windows VST and VST3 and 64-bit macOS AU and VST3. It is a beta and not a “1.0” release, so do read those known issues before you get started.

Rome-based Audiokids worked on the macOS version, and – unrelated to this, they have a really cool granular-ambient-convolution generative thing called Undertone. There’s a 15-day demo of that… so, huh, lots of stuff to play with.

Thanks, Nerk!